Earthpages.org

The Real Alternative


Leave a comment

Review – Beyond the Barbed Wire: An Artist’s View of The Holocaust (DVD)

Reality Films

When I first saw the title of Matt Webber’s film – Beyond the Barbed Wire: An Artist’s View of The Holocaust – I was a bit apprehensive. The holocaust is never an easy topic to deal with. And I’ve been under the weather with a cold, so my defenses are a bit lower than usual.

Yesterday I tried to watch Beyond the Barbed Wire but just the thought of going there was too much. So I chose to sleep off my cold as much as possible.

Feeling stronger today, however, I watched the film. And right from the start I realized that this was not some distorted or opportunistic movie about the holocaust.

I say “distorted” because some have written tracts that at first appear reasonable and then slide into dreadful harangues in which the Jewish people are blamed, subtly or overtly, for the Nazi atrocities of WW-II.

And by “opportunistic” I mean those depictions of the holocaust that seem more about promoting some person or maybe their latest book.

Again, after the first few minutes I quickly gained trust that Beyond the Barbed Wire was neither a distorted nor opportunistic rendering of the holocaust.

Instead, I found a sensitive and compelling film that tells the story of the Polish tailor, artist and holocaust survivor, Ben Altman.

Altman gives a first hand account that, although unavoidably upsetting and distressing, maintains a mature focus and perspective that makes it possible to listen without switching off or tuning out.

The narrative is augmented by several experts, to include a physicist, an art professor, and an art therapist.

Much discussion is given to the power of symbols, both good and bad. In so doing, names like C. G. Jung, Friedrich Nietzsche and Michel Foucault come up.

The Swiss psychiatrist Jung spoke at length about the positive and negative power of symbols, and connected the Nazis with an eruption of the Germanic Wotan archetype. The philosopher Nietzsche developed a concept of an “Overman” who joyously exerts his “will to power,” an idea that many argue was misappropriated by a deranged Adolf Hitler. And the French postmodern thinker Foucault forwarded a notion of “discourses of power” that remains influential in philosophy, political science and sociology.

The film includes a thought-provoking discussion on some differences between thinking and emotion as they relate to the body, and touches on the mystical doctrines associated with Kabbalah and Alchemy.

In addition, we learn about Hitler’s infamous “Degenerate Art” exhibit, which ironically was far more popular than the state approved arts exposition, showing just across the street.

And perhaps most important, Beyond the Barbed Wire underscores the idea that no matter how dreadful the circumstances may be, human beings are always free to choose their attitude.

Clear evidence of this inherent existential freedom is given in accounts of altruistic self-sacrifice among prisoners in the Nazi prison camps, and also through surviving artworks that some individuals were able to create while suffering confinement.

These artists, as the film suggests, were for a brief moment able to find some kind of creative value in the darkest of living nightmares. In effect, they reached beyond themselves and their disturbed tormentors through the act of creation.

Rather than succumbing to the disillusionment that evil tries to instill, Beyond the Barbed Wire attests to the fact that heroic self-mastery lives beyond even the worst machine-like madness that some people are capable of.

–MC

Share


Leave a comment

Heeding agitated Hindus, Helsinki museum removes word “Hinduism” from nude man photo

And the Sun Sets on Pushkar Fair by Koshyk

And the Sun Sets on Pushkar Fair by Koshyk

Special to Earthpages.org

Heeding to the demand of infuriated Hindus in various parts of the world, the word “Hinduism” has reportedly been removed from the controversial photograph of nude man on display at a renowned Helsinki (Finland) museum.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded this protest, has appreciated this step of the government run Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, saying that it was a sigh of relief for the agitated Hindu community. He urged the Museum to remove word “Pushkar” also from this photograph of nude man with visible genitals, arguing that town of Pushkar, which is associated with Hindu god Brahma, was sacred to Hindus.

Meanwhile, Kiasma Director Brendt Arell, on the request of a Hindu leader to remove word “Pushkar” also from this photograph, reportedly said that he would consider it.

Welcoming this gesture, Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that this second step of Kiasma, after the first step of removing the photograph titled “Hinduism: The Night of Pushkar 2″ from the website, would help heal the wounds of perturbed Hindu populace.

On the other hand, Finland Prime Minister’s Office transferred this issue to Finnish National Gallery, a public body under Finland Ministry of Education, of which Kiasma is a unit. In a memo copied to Hindu leaders, Heikki Aaltonen, Permanent State Under-Secretary, wrote, “…we transfer the issue for possible measures…to Finnish National Gallery…”

Hindus had approached Finland President, Prime Minister, majority Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, and others requesting intervention for the removal of photograph, apparently denigrating to Hinduism, from the exhibition.

Rajan Zed points out that Hindus are for freedom of expression as much as anybody else if not more. Hindu tradition encourages peaceful debates, won on their intellectual merit. But faith is something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees.

This controversial photograph is on display till April 19 as part of Marita Liulia’s “Choosing My Religion” multimedia exhibition at Kiasma, in which her art pieces juxtapose Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, and Animism. This exhibition will later travel to Tampere, Turku and Vaasa cities in Finland. Rajan Zed earlier described this photograph display as “very disrespectful, hurting and irreverent”..

Zed argued that they thought museums existed for the service and development of the society and for the purpose of education, inspiration and enjoyment. When did the museums take over the role of denigrating religions, Zed asked?

Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly, Rajan Zed stressed.


1 Comment

Nude man photo in Helsinki museum, which upset Hindus, removed from website

Oeuvre de Beat Streuli (Kiasma/Helsinki) by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

Oeuvre de Beat Streuli (Kiasma/Helsinki) by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

Special to Earthpages.org

This is a follow up to a previous article: “Perturbed Hindus ask for photo removal from Helsinki museum, calling it hurtful.” We’d like to remind our readers of our policy and disclaimer, particularly item 1. » http://tinyurl.com/8yf5vk

The controversial photograph of a nude man with visible genitals on display at a renowned government run Helsinki (Finland) museum, which enraged the Hindus in various parts of the world, has been removed from website.

The exhibition website previously displayed 72 slides of art pieces while now it only shows 71. The photograph number 32, which agitating Hindus said denigrated their religion, titled “Hinduism: The Night of Pushkar 2″, is not there anymore. Instead, at 32 is another photo titled “Hinduism: The River”, which apparently shows a woman from backside standing in the water.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, has welcomed this gesture, calling it “a step in the right direction”.

In a statement in Nevada (USA) today, Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that their protest, however, would continue till the apparently denigrating photograph was removed from the actual display in the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art; till they were assured that it would not be displayed in Tampere, Turku and Vaasa cities in Finland where exhibition planned to travel in the near future; and till public apology was not rendered by Finland Education Minister Henna Virkkunen, Director General of the Finnish National Gallery Risto Ruohonen, Kiasma Director Brendt Arell, and award winning artist Marita Liulia.

Meanwhile, Hindus have also sought intervention from Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, the majority church which claims over 80 percent of Finns as members, for removal of this controversial photograph, with Rajan Zed saying that it was the responsibility of the majority to protect its minority.

On another note, Finland Prime Minister’s office has forwarded the Hindu leaders’ request for removal of this “disrespectful” photograph from the exhibition to National Board of Antiquities of Finland “for further possible actions”.

Rajan Zed points out that Hindus are for freedom of expression as much as anybody else if not more. Hindu tradition encourages peaceful debates, won on their intellectual merit. But faith is something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees.

Zed further said that continual showing of naked man, as an apparent representation of Hinduism and sacred city of Pushkar despite protests and requests was very disturbing to already upset Hindu populace of the world. This controversial photograph is on display till April 19 as part of Marita Liulia’s “Choosing My Religion” multimedia exhibition at Kiasma, in which her art pieces juxtapose Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, and Animism. Kiasma is a unit of Finnish National Gallery, a public body under Finland Ministry of Education.

Rajan Zed has described this photograph display as “very disrespectful, hurting and irreverent.”


Leave a comment

Perturbed Hindus ask for photo removal from Helsinki museum, calling it hurtful

Kiasma by Hanna

Kiasma by Hanna

Special to Earthpages.org

Perturbed Hindus have demanded immediate removal of photograph titled “Hinduism: The Night of Pushkar 2″ from Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki (Finland), alleging it to be very disrespectful, hurting and irreverent.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Pushkar was highly revered in Hinduism and showing frontal male nudity to represent Hinduism and Pushkar was very disturbing. Exhibition, which included this photograph, was claimed to be “the major world religions seen through the eyes of the media artist”, and the artist apparently saw Hinduism and Pushkar in a naked male with a hanging penis.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that in addition to immediate removal of this photograph, artist Marita Liulia, Kiasma Director Brendt Arell, Director General of the Finnish National Gallery Risto Ruohonen, and Finland Minister of Education Henna Virkkunen, should issue public apology for this denigration. Kiasma is a unit of Finnish National Gallery, a public body under Finland Ministry of Education.

Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly, Rajan Zed stressed.

This photograph (50X70 cm) on aluminum showing a naked man sitting on a wall is currently showing as a part of Marita Liulia’s “Choosing My Religion” multimedia exhibition (from February 13 to April 19), which claims to view the major religions of the world from multiple perspectives. Liulia’s 72 art pieces juxtapose Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, and Animism. The exhibition is said to be a visual and experiential whole comprising photographs, paintings, objects and media works. This exhibition will later travel to Tampere, Turku and Vaasa cities in Finland.

Sacred town of Pushkar (Rajasthan, India), on the shores of sacred Pushkar lake, dating back to fourth century BCE, is associated with Hindu Lord Brahma (God of creation), sages Visvamitra and Parasara, bhagat Prahlada, apsara Menaka, etc. It houses a 14th century Brahma temple, only one of its kind in the world, and finds mention in Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, Vamana Purana, Abhigyan Sakuntalam, etc. Large number of pilgrims flock to it on/around Kartik Purnima to take a dip. The area has other important Hindu temples also, including Savitri, Varah, Mahadev, Ramavaikunth, etc.

Finnish National Gallery, largest art museum organization in Finland, had 355,800 visitors in 2007 and its costs that year were 21.4 million Euros. Internationally acclaimed Kiasma is the most popular museum in Finland, where “people, ideas and ideologies meet and mingle”. Award winning Marita Liulia is a versatile visual artist and a pioneer of interactive multimedia, whose works have been exhibited and performed in over 40 countries.


2 Comments

Renowned Portland Art Museum assures Hindus to display Lord Ganesha with “due reverence”

Ganesha Chariot by Guignatius

Ganesha Chariot by Guignatius

Special to Earthpages.org

Internationally renowned Portland Art Museum has assured the Hindus to display its newly acquired prestigious 11th century Lord Ganesha sculpture with “due reverence.”

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who met Dr. Maribeth Graybill, Curator of Asian Art of the Museum, in a statement today, said that Museum agreed to put it on a raised platform about three feet above the ground with a “do not touch” sign and a vigilance camera over it to make sure visitors did not disrespect Lord Ganesha in any way. Museum was building a special arch to provide a background to the sculpture, which is scheduled to be unveiled on February 14.

In an earlier statement, Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that the community was glad over this new valuable acquisition, but just wanted the Museum officials to be more respectful while arranging its display as Lord Ganesha was worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.

This over 500 pound stone stele of Lord Ganesha acquired by the Museum, made in northeastern India, shows him in seated in rajalilasana. This Museum already owns a 12th century bronze sculpture Shiva Nataraja from Tamil Nadu in India besides a set of 18th century Jodhpur style Ramayana paintings.

Graybill told Zed that to mark the unveiling of Lord Ganesha statue, the Museum was planning to display huge pooja pictures from major Hindu temples of India; video displays of Hindu ceremonies; miniatures folk images of Lord Ganesha in ivory, silver, and copper; educational programs to learn Hindu and Indian culture; textiles; Hindu story telling; and music and dance performances displaying Hindu culture. Specially created pendants with Lord Ganesha image would be on sale in the Museum shop to mark the occasion.

Graywill further said that Lord Ganesha was very important for Portland and she hoped that it would bring good fortune to it. She told Zed that the Museum’s focus on Lord Ganesha was because of him “very universal and accessible”. Museum was planning a “Gallery of Sacred Art” containing Hindu, Jain and Buddhist art pieces. She stressed that museums worldwide should focus on India and China, as these would be the dominant cultures of 21st century. She is asking for gifts to enrich the Hindu collections of the Museum.

Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged other major museums of the world to organize exhibitions of Hindu art, sculptures, and architecture to make aware the present and future generations about their richness.

Founded in 1892 and oldest on the West Coast of USA, Portland Art Museum is internationally recognized for its permanent collection of about 42, 000 objects and the world’s finest public and private collections, and receives around 350,000 visitors annually.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.


2 Comments

Unique Gandhi festival in America

Special to Earthpages.org

A unique first of its kind eco-friendly festival celebrating Mahatma Gandhi’s life and message will be held in Nevada (USA) on Jul 26.

According to Tom Stille and Doug Keeney, coordinators of this Gandhi Fest; drummers, fire spinners, artists, healthy and organic food chefs, yoga teachers, DJs, and sustainable living advocates will join hands to celebrate peace, love, freedom, non-violence, self-power and conscious living as promoted by Gandhi.

Rajan Zed, acclaimed Indo-American leader, will be the keynote speaker who will talk about Gandhi’s life, philosophy, and experiments, and answer questions of the participants during this festival.

To be held at River School Reno, this festival will continue till two am, and will include folk dancing, musical performances, sustainable goods displays, nature tours, fire spinning, kite flying, yoga shows, organic food demonstrations, etc. Each festival participant will artistically contribute to a “Gandhi collage”, to be created on the occasion. A competition will be held to make Gandhi sketches. Plans are being formed to make this Gandhi Fest an annual feature.

There is a renewed interest world over in Mahatma Gandhi and his ideas, who is universally venerated as one of the paramount moral, political, and social leaders of the recent history, Rajan Zed adds.


Leave a comment

What happened to earthpages’ pics?

We still have all of them at the ‘old earthpages.’ And we’re not really sure what to do with them right now. We certainly don’t want to drop them. But we don’t have enough web space to post them at the ‘new earthpages.’ Think of it as a transition time. The answer will surely come when the time is right… ;-)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,442 other followers